Posted by Niall O'Dowd at 8/25/2009 3:09 PM EDT
Will Barack Obama be a one term president after all?
I committed sacrilege on an Irish radio program by discussing that possibility in the midst of the Obama love in about 100 days into his presidency.
My point was that while he was using the symbols and bully pulpit of the presidency very well he would be judged by the legislation he got passed –starting with health care.
My remark went down like passing gas in an elevator. But I think time has borne the message out. He’s young, he great – but God he is still very green.
That shocking possibility of one term on Obama looms for the first time as his approval ratings sag and his big plan for health care runs into great difficulty.
It all seemed so different just a few months ago when Obama’s freshness and vision after the stale Bush years seemed like a brand new start to an amazing story.
He did very well those first few months, handling the economic crisis and giving Americans new hope that the recession could be ended.
Then came health care.
There is a reason why every attempt to pass universal health care since Teddy Roosevelt tried in 1912 has failed.
John Sweeney head of the AFL/CIO told me his greatest regret was not accepting the Nixon universal plan when it was offered back in 1972, holding out for a better deal with Jimmy Carter. That never happened either
But Obama apparently did not learn the lesson.
In 1993 the Clinton presidency almost sank without trace when their universal health care plan went down to defeat without even a vote in Congress.
Obama vowed to avoid the Clinton fiasco but in so doing may have created another one.
Yes, there are 50 million people without health care in the United States, but that means that there are 250 million who have.
They have arguably have the best hospitals and doctors in the world, a fact proven by the millions of foreigners who come every year to undergo surgeries and consultations.
When many of the 250 million hear plans for yet another universal health care plan they get very nervous indeed.
They worry that their good plan will be victim of the new plan or they will be forced to pay more in tax than they do now to support those without health insurance.
Clinton failed because his plan threatened those who have already had health care and insurance companies and others were able to frighten the horses.
Now Obama may be failing for the same reason. No one seems to know what his plan really is – that is because he has not created one. He has left that to Congress who are fighting an endless battle to produce one.
When people don’t know what their health care plan will look like they get scared and the Republicans are exploiting that fear very successfully.
Obama seems to be thrashing around for a way to convince voters he knows what he is doing, but there is mounting evidence he does not.
Already this week his advisors have indicated that they will agree major changes to the plan.
That merely helps Republicans get even more aggressive about stopping Obama in his tracks. A leading Republican has stated that if they stop Obama on health care they can end his presidency in one term.
Moving to Ireland
After living in Ireland for almost one year, this is what I’ve learned